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Best volume pedal with least tone suck for swell effects

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by J.Wolf, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Maybe you guys can help me out, I'm trying to find a better volume pedal solution. I have been using and Ernie Ball VP Junior, and frankly it sucks. Lots of tone loss (like, big time), scratchy pot that constantly needs maintenance, and I don't much care for the feel/throw of the pedal. Previously I had a Morley which felt a little bit nicer under my feet, but was huge and didn't sound fantastic either.

    What would be the ideal volume pedal, passive or active, that keeps the tone of the instrument intact and has a nice smooth mechanism for volume swells? I'm considering the visual volume, the new Dunlop volume pedal, and whatever seems like a good option short of the super expensive models ala hilton. Thx
  2. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Is size an issue for you? I know that there are quite a few on the market today that offer a lot of options and sound really good. Although I dont have a lot of exp with volume pedals, keep that in mind. Have you tried the regular sized EB VP? I see a lot of those on boards. Or maybe try a Source Audio Exp pedal. I believe you could accomplish what youre aiming to do with that. I could be wrong though. SA gear is the tops IMO. Any of it.
  3. nshuman

    nshuman Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2012
    Montreal, Qc, Canada
    I am not very experienced with volume pedals, but here is some of what my recent research has yielded. I am thinking of adding one of those at some point.

    Some small solutions.

    Slightly awkward solution:

    Bigger less awkward (and expression as well):

    More traditional yet small (they also make an expression pedal and wah):
  4. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Size is not a huge issue, since the visual volume is on my list. Does the soured audio expression double as a good volume pedal? I'd like a combo pedal since I've got a few pedals with expression control.

    I've seen a few pages of companies modding VP JR's to actually sound good, requiring some guts upgrades. Not sure if I want to trick mine out since I don't care for the feel/action.
  5. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Im hoping someone will chime in here about the SA exp. Im not really sure if it does double as a volume pedal too. I do know they are in the process of building and releasing a second, better exp pedal that may fit the bill for you. If I was you, and thats how I felt about that VP, I would ditch it and start over. You would end spending at least another $100 between the mod, shipping and then the time......

    It doesnt sound like it can be a volume pedal. I could be wrong though. Maybe ask go ask the rest of the guys in S.A.S.S...


  6. nshuman

    nshuman Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2012
    Montreal, Qc, Canada
    The current SA DEP does not double as a volume pedal.
    Adamixoye and sillyfabe like this.
  7. bassvirtuoso

    bassvirtuoso My God, it's full of chrome! Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    I have the Visual Volume and I love it, lots of options with running it passive or active, etc. Does a good job with swells although it still can have a slight jump at the beginning of the taper (heel down moving to toe down).
  8. Yeti_carnage


    Apr 20, 2014
    Throwing another option out there for you. The EBS Stanley Clarke wah doubles as a volume pedal.
    gregmon79 likes this.
  9. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    mattbass6945 likes this.
  10. NoxNoctus

    NoxNoctus The Crushinator

    May 9, 2004
    Annapolis, MD
    I use my VP Jr as an expression pedal. It does what I need it
    Depending on your pedals. I use my VP Jr as an expression pedal and often as a volume pedal via the OFD. It's not the best but it does what I need it to as seldom as I need to do swells, but if you have a pedal that can use expression to control volume, like a SA pedal, or the B3, etc, works wonderfully as there's no tone loss
  11. nshuman

    nshuman Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2012
    Montreal, Qc, Canada
    True! You just gave me an idea for a new midi hub preset! :)
    NoxNoctus likes this.
  12. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Thanks for that info. Looks like some kind of active/buffered volume pedal is what I'm after. Mission VM pro, visual volume etc... Anything but this EB VPJR. Maybe I'll repurpose it as a expression only device, cuz it sucks as a volume pedal
  13. enjoi1018

    enjoi1018 Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Auburn, AL
    If you like the action of the Ernie Ball, look into the JHS pedals active mod. I had a VP Jr that sucked tone and was scratchy, but it was perfect for my board and under my foot.

    Now the thing is dead silent, has a great taper, and allows for silent tuner-out usage. It's only around $60 if you send 'em your pedal. It will require a 9V power supply because it's active, but it's the best volume pedal I've ever used.
  14. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    If you want the best information about volume pedals, one should talk with pedal steel players, not bass players.

    Having said that, this is most likely the "best": Telonics Volume Pedal FP-100 Multi-Taper - $595.00.


    The Telonics FP-100 – available only from the US, but worldwide mains capability is no problem – is aimed primarily at steel guitar players, but that doesn’t mean regular guitarists can’t use one. Though the FP-100 is electronic, it isn’t digital. Inside is a high-headroom, fully-buffered preamp built purely with tone in mind.

    It works not by an LED light, nor a laser scanner: instead, the pedal’s sensors literally compare the angles of the top and bottom halves.

    The second unique selling point of this pedal is that it has not one audio taper, but five. A digital switch on the side instructs the FP-100 to adopt the distinct audio curves of the famous (and long discontinued) Allen-Bradley pot, a Clarostat pot, early- and late-model versions of the current and well-regarded Hilton digital volume pedal and the vintage Goodrich ‘light beam’ unit.

    The USB port on the left will allow the factory to download other tapers and updates in the future, such as ‘tone roll-off’ tapers, imitating the way in which traditional audio pots bleed off highs as volume is reduced – a characteristic some players prefer.

    Three ‘blank’ switch settings allow new tapers to be added, while setting 0 is a programming position. You can adjust the treadle’s drag anywhere from super-light to stiff, and tweak the return spring to make sure the pedal stays where it is when you remove your foot.

    Crucially, you can also adjust the ‘minimum volume’ level to give silence or any amount of signal you choose with the pedal in the heel-down position. Because the FP-100 remembers this setting on a Flash card, you can program a different minimum volume level for each taper.

    On the right there’s a single input (which will automatically configure the internal preamp for balanced and unbalanced applications) and two outputs for running up to two amps at once.

    Plugging a tuner into the Tuner Out socket will give a tuning reading at any pedal angle, and there’s a mini-pot for adjusting input impedance to suit your pickup… best left at factory settings unless you really know your electronics.
  15. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    I have a Boss FV-500L and a Dunlop DVP-3 and of those I would go with the Dunlop, mainly because of the smaller size. The control with their new steel band that moves the pot is OK but I've heard it squeek a little sometimes, hopefully that goes away over time. I have mostly used these as expression pedals though, just tried them a bit as volume pedals, but I don't think there's much tone suck from either. My guess is they are on par with the VP pedals though, so more discerning ears may not be as happy as mine. As always, you'll have to listen yourself really.
  16. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    That telonics looks pretty sweet, maybe a bit more than I need. I got hip to the hilton via a pedal steel player, but haven't stumbled on this one.

    Re: the JHS mod to the VP JR, adding a buffer certainly seems like a good idea, but do they stick with the crappy potentiometer and spring apparatus, which to me is the larger Achilles' heel of that pedal? Mine seems like it's constantly needing to be addressed, scratchy, volume spikes/dips etc. a $60 mod is appealing, but if it leaves me with the same problems but an overall better sounding pedal, it may not be worth it.
  17. enjoi1018

    enjoi1018 Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Auburn, AL
    They completely gut the pedal, and use a new house-built board and pot, all hand wired. The only thing that comes back that you send is the aluminum pedal and base.

    I initially thought mine had a problem, as the volume swell was all during the last 5% of the pedal's movement. Turned out it was because I had it in a blended signal chain, and the blend wasn't set to max. Once I put it in the direct signal chain, it's been perfectly smooth and transparent. I highly recommend it!
  18. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    I use a Dunlop DVP-1 and it's a great overbuilt pedal with a super smooth action and no tone suck.
  19. J.Wolf

    J.Wolf Gear Reviewer - Bass Musician Magazine

    Apr 29, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    That's promising. And a 60 dollar mod to a pedal I own would be preferable to buying something new. So I may go ahead and have those guys mod mine, and see where that gets me. Thanks for the feedback all!
  20. tsheldon


    Jun 20, 2005
    Western New York
    I have and wholeheartedly recommend the Telonics Pro Volume Pedal. It's almost perfect and I would go as far as to say "worth the price" as it also contains the best transparent buffer I've heard. The only "problems" are the jack placement isn't good for non steel players and the 24v 240ma center positive power supply requires some consideration.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
    J.Wolf likes this.

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